Swim in crystal clear waters and tour Pablo Escobar’s former estate on a trip to Tulum, Mexico with skincare enthusiast New Yorker Janice Tran, ahead.

"One of my favorite travel bloggers, Olivia Lopez, has been talking about Tulum on her blog for years before it became a popular tourist destination. So, I thought this was the perfect time to finally make a trip here. I was born and raised in New York, so everything in my life has been fast-paced. On the other hand, Tulum is extremely laid back. The architecture and food was filled with so much color. The people were so welcoming and it was interesting to see that we also met a handful of expats that came there and never left.

The culture, the food, and the architecture was all beautiful. But one of my favorite parts about the trip was when we stumbled upon three labradors that live in one of the hotels. Everytime we drove by, I made Mikey stop so that I could give them belly rubs! (*one was taking a nap)."

OUAI Wave Spray OUAI Rose Hair & Body Oil

Beauty Packing List:

It’s really humid in Tulum, so my skincare routine was simple. I focused on cleansing with Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser, Lala Retro Whipped Cream and Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil as my moisturizers. SPF was all from Supergoop and some Bali Body so I could soak up all of the Mexican sun. For body, the OUAI Rose Hair & Body Oil really helped soothe my skin after the sun and the Wave Spray helped to fake the salty beach hair since I can’t swim and didn’t go in the water.

Fashion Packing List:

Booking the Trip

Since I have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, I had a ton of travel points for my flight, though usually I book through the Chase portal. I stayed in an AirBnB that was outside of “town,” so it was a good thing we had a car to commute and explore at our own leisure. I also did a lot of research on Instagram and Conde Nast Traveler.

Where to Stay

I stayed in this Airbnb - just make sure if you plan on staying here too, you have a car during your trip. I always choose a place that’s affordable, clean and if it’s well-designed, that’s a plus.

Getting Around

It depends on what you want to do, but because I planned on hopping around a lot, it was convenient to have a car. Having this ensured an easy transition from bikinis at the beach to a dress for dinner.

Tip for First-Timers

It’s really imperative to make sure you travel with someone you can enjoy your time with there. Mikey and I like to do similar things and have traveled internationally together before, so it was a seamless and fun trip! Fun fact: “Tulum” means “wall” in the Mayan language.

DAY 1:

10AM We had breakfast at Moro in this gorgeous boutique hotel, Habitas. Definitely order the smoothies, fruit bowl, and any of their omelettes. 

1PM We had lunch at another beachfront hotel/restaurant called Posada Margherita. There is an unfortunate seaweed problem, so keep that in mind when planning your trip. 

2:30PM No better shopping than the local fruit market to grab the freshest mangos. Pro tip: add Tajin chili pepper to the mangos for a spicy zesty flavor.

4PM The Mayan ruins is a must-see archaeological site at Tulum National Park. Be sure to bring lots of bug spray if you attract as many mosquitoes as I do.

7PM We had dinner at the Papaya Playa Project. A lot of the restaurants we went to were in beautifully designed hotels made for picture perfect shots at every turn. 

9PM I am not a huge party goer, so instead we watched the sunset on the beach. It was relaxing to just sit back and take all of it in.

DAY 2:

10AM We woke up and spent our morning at Casa Malca, a beautiful estate previously owned by none other than the infamous Pablo Escobar. 

1PM Nearby we drove to Sian Ka’an biosphere and came across miles and miles of jungle and untouched, seaweed-free beaches. Also, swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Gran Cenote. Watch out for the turtles!

3PM We perused the “Alignments” art gallery while waiting for Azulik to open. It is set in a tropical jungle with rustic-chic aesthetic and eco-friendly amenities. The restaurant/bar is in a treehouse offering breathtaking views.

7PM We had dinner at Hartwood, a woodsy, farm-to-table restaurant serving local fare. I was drawn to this place knowing it was led by two ex-New Yorkers. Most of the options are seafood (I’m allergic), so I had the steak. Did not disappoint.

Follow Janice's adventures on Instagram